NOGALES – Expanding the Mariposa Port of Entry here will reduce delays in each direction, boost international trade and enhance security, Gov. Jan Brewer said Oct. 22.
“The expansion will benefit real people who are at the heart of international trade,” Brewer said. “We have yet to realize the potential of the trade between Arizona and Sonora.”
Brewer joined officials from both sides of the border, including Guillermo Padrés Elías, the governor of Sonora, at a groundbreaking ceremony for the $213 million project.
Nearly 80 percent of commercial trucks that enter Arizona from Mexico pass through this port.
Built in 1973, it was designed to handle 400 vehicles a day. Today it handles around 1,600, making it the nation’s third-busiest port and also leading to delays that Brewer and others said hinder trade.
“The port is a critical component of America’s economy,” said Brewer, adding that officials expect commercial traffic through the port to double thanks to the expansion. “The competitiveness of the region depends on increasing trade.”
In 2007, 4 billion pounds of produce passed through here from Mexico, accounting for 45 percent off all fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S., Brewer said.
The expansion will add eight lanes for commercial traffic and 12 for private vehicles.
It also will include a bus lane, 56 commercial docks, five commercial exit booths, 24 commercial inspection areas, 400 parking spaces and two southbound lanes. It will provide a new administration building, a pedestrian-processing facility and a kennel for detector dogs.
The work is expected to be completed by 2014.
“By working together we will build a port that will be an example to all other ports along the border,” said James B. Manson, president of the Greater Nogales and Santa Cruz County Port Authority.
Octavio Garcia Von-Borstel, mayor of Nogales, Ariz., said he expects the expansion to increase tourism and add to the city’s tax base.
“Both governments share the same passion for the project and truly understand how it will benefit life on the border,” Garcia Von-Borstel said.
Most of the money for the expansion will come from the federal stimulus.
Victor Mendez, administrator for the Federal Highway Administration, said the expansion is an example of stimulus dollars improving infrastructure and boosting employment.
“Jobs are being created in Arizona, for Arizonans,” Mendez said.